N.S. woman with brain aneurysm says capacity issues have left her in limbo
Published Friday, September 30, 2016 3:55PM ADT
Last Updated Friday, September 30, 2016 7:00PM ADT
A Nova Scotia woman says capacity issues at the province’s largest hospital have left her in limbo.
Tammy Russell was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm a little more than four weeks ago and says it’s slowly causing her to lose her vision.
The Eastern Passage, N.S. resident says the wait has been agonizing since being diagnosed, so she was relieved to be scheduled for surgery to repair the aneurysm last Thursday at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre.
However, even though Russell and her surgical team were ready for the procedure, she was told there was no bed for her in the intensive care unit and no nurse available to take care of her after surgery.
“I got dressed and went home and cried,” she says.
Russell is losing the vision in one eye and is dealing with headaches, lightheadedness and memory loss. She can’t drive and she’s afraid to be alone, in case the aneurysm bursts.
“I never get left alone, because if I have a stroke, I won’t know I had a stroke,” she says.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority says it can’t comment on specific cases due to privacy concerns, but a spokesperson says there are no issues with staffing levels at the ICU.
“We make every effort to avoid rescheduling surgeries and are committed to decreasing the number of cancelled surgeries,” said the Nova Scotia Health Authority in a statement. “In some circumstances, surgeries are cancelled if the appropriate specialized bed required for a patient’s care and safety becomes unavailable.”
Meanwhile, Russell says she should be celebrating the opening of her new pet grooming business, but she is unable to work as she deals with her diagnosis and symptoms.
“How does this happen? Taxpayer my whole life and then I get sick once in my life, I get sick, and this is what I’ve dealt with,” she says.
“I don’t want this to happen to the next person, you know. It may not help me today, but maybe the next person won’t have to go through what I’ve just went through. This week has been hell.”
Russell has yet to hear back about rescheduling her surgery. She was told it could be another week before that happens.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Sarah Ritchie